Monthly Archives: April 2017

Springtime Fertilizer for a Hungry Lawn and Garden

Springtime Fertilizer for a Hungry Lawn and GardenIs your garden calling you? If so, it is probably saying “Feed me, feed me”. In Spring, when everything is coming back to life, feed your lawn and garden. Finding the right time is the tricky part. Apply fertilizers after the last frost but not too early. Spring rains cause nutrients to leech away into the soil before your plants can see any benefit. Wait until you see the green popping through!

Why Fertilize?

If you have supplemented your soil with compost and organic matter over the Fall, you are ahead of the game. If not, no worries. Test your soil’s Ph level to determine what nutrients are needed. Don’t guess, it is easy to over-fertilize when using commercial chemical products.

When Do I Fertilize?

Are you giving your garden a good start or are you trying to increase the number of blooms and fruit you produce? Giving your garden what it needs depends on what stage of growth it is in. Established plants need less attention.

The two approaches to fertilizing:

  • Long-term – To replenish nutrients to the soil throughout the year.
  • Short-term – To feed plants now to promote growth.

Give Your Lawn a Nitrogen Rich Supplement

If you are wanting your grass to put on a show for you this summer, make sure the soil is rich in nitrogen. Winter weather can compact your soil and strangle your grass. Aeration allows for better drainage, improved oxygen levels and easier absorption of fertilizers. If you are laying new sod, give the soil a good dose of organic matter first.

Fertilizers Can Be a Mixed Bag

Choosing the right fertilizer is a chore all by itself. There are so many to pick from at the garden center. A good rule of thumb – organic fertilizers won’t contaminate the ground water and are less likely to cause damage if overused.

Types of Fertilizers

  • Compost – Use an aged mix to avoid plant burn. Work it into the top six inches of soil.
  • Manure – Avoid using fresh manure. It gives off heat and ammonia as it breaks down that can harm tender plants.
  • Chemical fertilizers – Use the right NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) blend depending on your needs. Add before planting to allow it to dissipate into the soil and not burn the roots.
  • Organic fertilizers – Consider trying bio-stimulants like liquid seaweed or kelp that you can spray directly on plants or soil and use monthly.

Show Your Garden Some Love

Supplement your garden’s soil before planting with bone, blood or fish meal. These are good options beyond the usual compost and manure. Vegetables will also need a slow-release fertilizer throughout the growing season. Start adding it after your plants have established and re-apply it every few weeks. You can also plant green fertilizers like clover, which will deter weeds and enrich the soil when it dies back.

Your Garden Will Thank You

Help your garden and lawn get off to a great start with fertilizer. Like you, it is ready for Winter to be behind it. Feed your lawn and plants the nutrients they need to grow strong and healthy. Now, when you hear garden calling, it is probably saying thank you!

Expert Advice

From shovels and wheelbarrows to aerator/pluggers and Honda tillers, our expert staff is ready to help get your Spring yard projects started. Want more tips on growing the perfect lawn? Our blog, Planning for a Green Spring – Feed Your Lawn, will get you off to a great start. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Categories: DIY Projects, Gardening and Lawn Care, How-To's, spring checklist | Leave a comment

Gardening Season is Here! Time to Play in the Dirt

spring gardening checklistIf you are chomping at the bit to get outside and play in the dirt, your chance is almost here. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, our last Spring frost should be around April 18. After that, you should be good to go to get plants in the ground. Getting your Spring garden and yard checklist done means rolling up your sleeves and cleaning out those flower beds. Get busy, you have a lot to do!

Find Your Hardiness Zone

If you need reminding which hardiness zone you live in, you are not alone. Our state seems to be laid out like a jigsaw puzzle. Still, they say we are looking at 182 days of great gardening weather ahead, so bring it on!

Here are the hardiness zones for Indiana:

  • Zone 5B – Northern Indiana
  • Zone 6A – Central Indiana (and pockets of N. Indiana) including Indianapolis
  • Zone 6B – Southern Indiana

Top 10 Tasks for Your Spring Gardening Checklist

Get your Spring gardening checklist in order. Tackling some of the list now will give you more time to focus on planting new varieties once the last frost has passed. 

  1. Remove dead plants – If you didn’t do this during the Fall/early Winter, do it now.
  2. Test the soil – Harsh winters can deplete nutrients. Testing will let you know how to amend it before planting.
  3. Weeding and composting – Pull early weeds now before they take hold. Amend your soil with compost, manure or new top soil.
  4. Prune perennials – Many die back to the ground in the Winter. If you have dead growth stalks, don’t cut them until you see green at the base.
  5. Cut back ornamental grasses – Get rid of old growth.
  6. Roses – Inspect them for diseases and remove dead limbs.
  7. Trees and shrubs – Prune spring flowering plants after they have lost their blooms.
  8. Evergreens – Fertilize them with specially formulated food.
  9. Divide and transplant – Separate perennials to prevent overcrowding. Start a new bed or share the extra plants with friends.
  10. Mulching and edging – Give seedlings an opportunity to peek through before covering them up. Let the soil warm up and dry out slightly before adding mulch to avoid encouraging mildew. Edge your beds to keep grass at bay.

Outdoor To-do List Includes Repairs and Cleaning

Spring gardening projects are not limited to planting and mulching. Inspect your landscape for any basic repairs that are needed like dead tree removal or broken branches. Retaining walls may need shoring up or replacing. Bird feeders and chicken coops need cleaning. If you don’t have a compost bin, now is a great time to build one.

If you are as excited about the warm weather as we are, you won’t mind having a list of things to do. Are you ready to play in the dirt?

Expert Advice

Need a few more outdoor projects? This handy list, 11 Lawn and Gardening Tips for Spring, will round out your DIY to-do list. From Honda tillers and trimmers to edgers and wheelbarrows, we have what you need to tackle all of your Springtime gardening checklist. Let our expert staff help you find the right equipment for your DIY projects. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: DIY Projects, Gardening and Lawn Care, spring checklist | Leave a comment

From Plain to Polished – Molding and Faux Beams Add Interest

DIY Project: How to Install Crown MoldingLooking for a weekend project that can quickly transform a room? Consider adding molding or faux ceiling beams. These decorative touches add architectural interest while giving any area a polished look. If you have a plain Jane room screaming for something more, decorative moldings and beams are just the ticket.

An Extra Set of Hands Always Helps

Decorative molding adds detail while making a room appear larger or taller. It can help you creatively transition from one material to another. With accurate measurements, precise cutting and an extra set of hands, installation is easy. Some molding materials like plaster require a skilled technique, which is why leaving it to the professional is the best option.

10 Types of Decorative Molding

  1. Casing – Covers the gap where a door frame or window meets the wall.
  2. Baseboard – This molding is used in addition to quarter-round to blend where the floor meets the wall.
  3. Crown – Also called cornice molding, it is used to blend where the walls meet the ceiling. Can give the illusion of height to a room.
  4. Chair rail – Originally meant to protect walls from furniture bumping them, the chair rail is often used to transition between two different wall coverings (for example, paint and wallpaper).
  5. Picture rail – If you don’t want to damage your walls with nails or hanging brackets, install a picture rail to display your artwork.
  6. Cove – This concave shaped molding is used like crown molding and is less ornate.
  7. Dentil – A style of crown molding with a pattern of evenly spaced blocks resembling teeth. Used in historical homes.
  8. Egg and dart – A pattern of crown molding that has oval egg shapes alternating with V-like darts. Styled after the facades of Greek temples.
  9. Batten – Also known as Board & Batten, this is used to hide the joints between wall panels.
  10. Bead and pearl – This crown molding style has a row of symmetrical spheres or pearls running along it. Often combined with other crown molding design elements like leaves, darts or spindles to form elaborate combinations.

New Materials Make Installation a Breeze

Molding is no longer just made from wood. In the past, trimming a curved wall would have been tricky. With today’s bendable substances, like flexible polyurethane, installation is a breeze. It cuts and mounts like wood molding yet conforms easily to whatever angle you need.

Most Common Materials Used for Molding:

  • Wood – The most popular material used, wood is affected by humidity, which will cause it to expand and contract. Use a flexible caulk on the joints to avoid gaps later.
  • Plaster – Beautiful, elegant and tricky to install. Leave this job for the professionals. Can run $25-50 per foot installed.
  • Flexible polyurethane – This lightweight, limber material cuts and installs like wood. It can also be painted or stained.
  • Lightweight polyurethane – Unlike wood, this product will not split or crack during installation.
  • Metal – Used with a metal tile ceiling, this crown molding comes pre-finished but can be painted. Pre-formed corners make installation easier.
  • Hollow PVC – Great for running cables or wires around a room so you don’t have to cut into your walls. Comes in 8 foot sections.

Faux Beams Create Visual Interest on Your Ceiling

Things are literally looking up for decorative molding. Designers are adding intricate molding designs on ceilings to give rooms a visual flare the way artwork does. Need more of a statement? Add drama with faux beams on your ceiling. Fashioned from wood or plaster, these beams can create a grid-like pattern or separate different spaces in an open floor plan.

Show Buyers You Have an Eye for Detail

Consider installing decorative molding or faux beams as your next DIY project. Finishing a room with these design features lets potential buyers know you have an eye for detail. Boost your home’s value by adding these decorative items today and reap the rewards at closing.

Expert Advice

From nail guns and miter saws to ladders and paint sprayers, our expert staff is ready to help you decide on your next DIY project. Need some additional design ideas for your home? Our blog, Tried and True Interior Decorating Tips, has great suggestions to get you fired up for your next project. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Leave a comment

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